After losing the first two games of this weekend’s series to defending Big Ten champion Maryland (19-12; 4-2) by just three runs combined, Rutgers (16-15; 2-4) bounced back on Easter Sunday with a 14-8 victory. An offensive outburst fueled the win as five different players had at least two hits.
Ryan Lasko led the way in going 5 of 6 at the plate. He had a home run, two doubles, three RBI and scored three runs. Jordan Sweeney was 2 of 5 with a home run, four RBI and two runs scored. Josh Kuroda-Grauer also hit a homer while driving in three RBI and scoring twice on a 2 of 5 effort at the plate. In addition, Cameron Love was 2 of 5 with two RBI while Andy Axelson was also 2 of 5 with a run scored.
Reliever John Modugno got Rutgers out of a jam in the fourth inning to earn his first win of the season.
A six run sixth inning gave RU a commanding 12-3 lead. Maryland scored four times in the bottom of the ninth inning to make the final score 14-8.
One interesting development this past week was Friday starter Drew Conover transitioning into the bullpen. After starring in the bullpen for Seton Hall and the Cape Cod league, Conover was drafted in the 20th round by the Detroit Tigers last June. However, he opted to transfer to Rutgers where he converted into a starting role. With mixed results and the Scarlet Knights bullpen struggling with consistency, Conover made three relief appearances last week. In 2 1/3 innings, Conover struck out seven batters while walking just two batters in allowing one hit and one earned run.
This is a positive development for both Conover and the Rutgers bullpen. Also credit Grant Besser who stepped up on Friday. He threw five innings and allowed just one earned run on four hits. Expect him to earn another Friday start next weekend when RU hosts Michigan. Before then, the Scarlet Knights will host Seton Hall on Tuesday and Marist on Wednesday.